CPA captured its second straight TSSAA Class AA boys basketball championship, pulling off the repeat feat in both boys and girls state tournaments.
Submitted photos by JOHN WILKINSON for BHP
Christ Presbyterian Academy captured its second straight TSSAA Class AA boys basketball championship, pulling off the repeat feat in both boys and girls state tournaments.
Brentwood resident Jake Allsmiller sank six 3-pointers on his way to 20 points in the championship win over Jackson South Side. Fellow junior Jalen Lindsey was named both AA tournament MVP and Mr. Basketball afterward.
|Junior Jake Allsmiller hit 6 of 12 from behind the 3-point line.|
“It’s an amazing feeling doing it two times in a row,” Allsmiller said. “… It felt a lot better (than yesterday). Coach Drew (Maddux) talked to me before the game and said my confidence needed to be better, not my shot, but just my confidence in myself.
“I went a little early to shoot around, and my confidence got up. These guys kept passing me the ball. I played better today, thank God.”
The Lions, finishing 34-2 without any in-state losses, led wire-to-wire in Saturday’s final at MTSU’s Murphy Center. CPA will be an odds-on favorite to notch a three-peat next senior since there are no seniors.
“It’s really unbelievable,” Coach Drew Maddux said. “We stood here last year… To come back, you’re blessed to do it once, and to come back another time is special. The thing I’m most proud of is this team’s focus throughout the season, how coachable they were, how they loved and served each other well.”
Maddux said playing “incredible teams” like Chicago Sydney and playing in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and in the King of the Bluegrass in Louisville exposed CPA to great teams as well as playing three consecutive days.
“I really thought our guys were equipped to do that this week,” he said.
Lindsey, a 6-6 junior from Franklin, is one of the top prospects in the nation for next year’s recruiting class but had only nine points and seven rebounds after two previous double-doubles.
Still, he made a jumper for the opening basket and then stole the ball to set up Allsmiller’s first 3 for an early 5-0 lead. CPA had a steal by Braxton Bonds for a Braxton Blackwell lay-in to make it 7-2, and Thomas Richard’s steal set up Allsmiller’s next trey for a 10-2 advantage.
The Lions led 17-6 at the end of the first quarter and then 21-6 early in the second quarter. Allsmiller’s steal led to his third 3-pointer, and he hit another with 42 seconds before halftime
“Our whole game plan is getting deflections and steals,” Allsmiller said. “… Being with these guys is so much fun. We’ve been playing together so long, and we know each other so well. All of the pressure this year, we just brushed it aside, and came out and repeated.”
Wray Fuller’s 3-point basket with four seconds showing cut it to 35-25 at halftime. South Side then closed within 37-31 early in the third quarter.
But Allsmiller, son of former Vanderbilt post player Brian Allsmiller, hit his fifth trey to push it back out to 40-31, and Lindsey’s dunk made it 42-31. CPA never led by less than double digits after Blackwell’s steal and Richard’s layup gave the Lions a 44-33 lead.
“It’s the greatest feeling. We’re making it a standard at CPA to win championships, boys and girls,” Richard said. “I think our energy (was high). We attacked the rim.”
Blackwell finished with 12 points and joined Lindsey, Allsmiller and Richard on the all-tournament team.
|CPA celebrates winning another gold ball.|
“Even today, standing here as state champions, it’s bittersweet. We don’t get to wake up tomorrow and play more basketball,” Maddux said. “The good news is that we don’t have any seniors, so we have the chance to come back again.”
South Side only hit 2 of 12 from 3-point range, with Fuller hitting both. Allsmiller was 6 of 12 for CPA behind the arc, with the team going 8 of 19.
“We knew that they had capable shooters, and we just had to locate where they were,” Blackwell said. “We knew they were a majority outside team. We had to pack it in on defense, basically.”
The Lions also forced 26 turnovers and made 17 steals, picking up their transition offense. Allsmiller and Blackwell stole the ball four times each, and Bonds and Lindsey three times apiece.
Richard dished out five assists, and Bonds and Blackwell each head four.
“It means everything,” said Bonds, nephew of home run king Barry Bonds. “We put a lot of hard work in the off-season, and it’s good to know that it paid off.”
Lindsey, a four-year starter for the Lions, took home the Mr. Basketball award after averaging 20.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 3.1 blocks per game. He is a two-time all-state pick, a Mr. Basketball finalist last year, and CPA’s all-time leading scorer with more than 2,000 career points.
“We’ve gone through so much as a team since we were in eighth grade. I think we came out and worked so hard, and we did it,” Lindsey said of the repeat title.
Maddux said the focus all year was to deflect expectations, trying to downplay each contest as just another game.
“We’ll get back at it, because that’s our job, to be the best team we could possibly be,” he said. “That group of young men is really special. If we’re fortunate enough to be here next year, it will be special again.”
CHRIST PRESBYTERIAN 63, JACKSON SOUTH SIDE 42
JACKSON SOUTH SIDE (28-4): Barford, Jaylen 5-10 3-3 13; McNeal, Chris 3-8 5-5 11; Hicks, Malik 4-8 2-5 10; Fuller, Wray 2-7 0-0 6; Merriweather, A. 0-1 2-2 2; Vinson, Devontae 0-1 0-0 0; Jones, Christian 0-0 0-0 0; Beard, Pharez 0-0 0-0 0; Heavner, Collin 0-0 0-0 0; Martin, Xavier 0-0 0-0 0; Smith, Terrikous 0-1 0-0 0; White, Copeland 0-1 0-0 0; Murphy, Kaleb 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-38 12-15 42.
CHRIST PRESBYTERIAN (37-2): Allsmiller, Jake 6-12 2-2 20; Blackwell, Braxton 5-9 2-4 12; Lindsey, Jalen 4-10 1-3 9; Richard, Thomas 3-5 1-2 7; Spann, Coleman 2-3 0-0 6; Howell, Parker 2-3 0-0 4; Bonds, Braxton 1-5 0-1 2; Davis, Micah 0-0 2-2 2; Adams, Paul 0-0 1-2 1; Manuel, Andrew 0-0 0-0 0; Zelenik, Conner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-47 9-16 63.
Jackson South Side………… 6 19 10 7 – 42
Christ Presbyterian……….. 17 18 19 9 – 63
3-point goals–Jackson South Side 2-12 (Fuller, Wray 2-7; McNeal, Chris 0-2; Smith, Terrikous 0-1; White, Copeland 0-1; Barford, Jaylen 0-1), Christ Presbyterian 8-19 (Allsmiller, Jake 6-12; Spann, Coleman 2-3; Lindsey, Jalen 0-2; Richard, Thomas 0-1; Blackwell, Braxton 0-1). Fouled out–Jackson South Side-None, Christ Presbyterian-None. Rebounds–Jackson South Side 30 (Vinson, Devontae 4; Barford, Jaylen 4; Hicks, Malik 4; Merriweather, A. 4), Christ Presbyterian 27 (Lindsey, Jalen 7). Assists–Jackson South Side 4 (Barford, Jaylen 3), Christ Presbyterian 17 (Richard, Thomas 5). Total fouls–Jackson South Side 18, Christ Presbyterian 16. Technical fouls–Jackson South Side-None, Christ Presbyterian-None.
All-tournament team: Mason Ramsey-Livingston Academy, Brock McCoin-Livingston Academy, Brandon Walters-Howard, Thomas Richard-CPA, AJ Merriweather-Jackson South Side, Braxton Blackwell-CPA, Malik Hicks-Jackson South Side, ***Jalen Lindsey_CPA (MVP), Jaylen Barford-Jackson South Side, Jake Allsmiller- CPA